A minor in Soil Resources is useful for students majoring in agriculture who plan to seek employment in areas of agricultural production, marketing, management, and conservation, i.e., areas in which decision-making requires a basic understanding of soils. The minor is also valuable for students in the Arts and Sciences and other students who would like to understand the fate of chemicals and waste products that are applied to or buried in the soil. For students in Geology, Geography, Anthropology and Archeology, this minor will provide background information for identifying and understanding soils and the climate and processes under which they are formed. Since soil is the basic resource on which civilizations are built, students in an international program, or who are interested in working in developing countries of the world, will acquire a background in soils that will help them relate to the economic and political problems of these developing countries.
Soil is a fundamental resource for ecosystem function and environmental health. It is a living filter that provides vital ecosystem services – including food production, water purification, carbon sequestration, nutrient recycling, and assimilation of waste products. Soil is a key component of natural agricultural, wildland, and urban ecosystems that sustain all global processes. Soil science is highly interdisciplinary; soil scientists apply biology and microbial ecology, chemistry, earth sciences, ecology, hydrology, mineralogy, mathematics, nutrition, toxicology, and physics to understand, sustain, and improve the environment.
The minor in Soil Science is designed to introduce students to basic soil environmental science concepts, techniques and practices. A diverse range of soil science course offerings provide experience with geospatial analysis, computer modeling, spectroscopy, bioassays, molecular biology, and other advanced field and lab technology for soil investigation.